Special Awards

There are five special awards given by the National Cowgirl Museum which honor individuals, organizations or foundations that support our mission of honoring and celebrating women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that shape the American West.

  • The Gloria Lupton Tennison Award
  • The Fern Sawyer Award
  • The Patsy Montana Entertainer Award
  • Mary Jane Colter Award
  • Mitzi Lucas Riley Award
  • The Jerry Ann Taylor Best-Dressed Award

The Gloria Lupton Tennison Award

Named for the local philanthropist recognizes those who have pioneered new approaches to public service in the areas of business, law, sports, the arts or humanitarian causes. This award recognizes the difficulty in creating new avenues of service, while applauding the determination and trailblazing efforts of those who have successfully created programs.

Previous award winners include Anne Armstrong, Nancy Lee Bass, and Lynne Cheney.

2009: Laura W. Bush

2010: Ruth Carter Stevenson

2012: Nancy Brinker


The Fern Sawyer Award

Named after a 1976 Honoree and champion cowgirl, this is awarded to an individual or organization that has worked toward and contributed to the advancement of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

Previous award winners include Edward P. Bass,Georgia Mae Ericson,Anne W. Marion, Van Romans and Sheila Welch.

2007: Alice L. Walton

2011: Patti Colbert

2012: Renda Tillerson


The Patsy Montana Entertainer Award

Recognizes those whose work in the entertainment field continues the tradition of the cowgirl. Entertainers in the areas of film, television, music, writing, and theatre are considered for the award.

Previous award winners include Emmylou Harris, and Jessie the Cowgirl from Toy Story 2.


Mary Jane Colter Award
Recognizes those women who create, design, build and interpret the traditions of the American West.

2009 Honoree Colter who was one of the few female architects of her era, has eleven buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and five of these buildings have been designated National Historic Landmarks. Each year, as many as 5 million visitors pass through the collection of buildings she designed or decorated in Grand Canyon National Park.  For inspiration, Colter looked to nature and was known for creating structures in harmony with the environment. Colter used local stone, art and “design elements as ancient as the first human footprints in the canyon itself. While others built for the modern age, Colter would build for the ages,” noted Jeff Rennicke in National Parks magazine.

2014: Jan Barboglio


Mitzi Lucas Riley Award

Established in honor of 1996 Hall of Fame Honoree Mitzi Lucas Riley, this award recognizes young adults who promote Western heritage in the community through education and volunteerism. This award encourages involvement in preserving the Western culture and legacy.

Honoree Mitzi Lucas Riley has said that the saddle was her playpen as a baby. Born into rodeo royalty having Tad Lucas for a mother and Buck Lucas for a father, Mitzi made her professional trick riding debut at age six when she and her mother performed together in Pueblo, Colorado. A daring trick rider, she performed in rodeos across the country, from Madison Square Garden to the Calgary Stampede. Mitzi served on the board of the Rodeo Historical Society, establishing the Tad Lucas Award to recognize outstanding women in rodeo. Mitzi has held fast to a life-long dedication to the Western heritage, and to promoting cowgirls.

2010: Adelaide Royer and Mary Margaret Richter

2013: Missy Bonds

2014: Amberley Snyder


The Jerry Ann Taylor Best-Dressed Award

Jerry Ann Taylor was a daring trick rider with an incredible sense of style. Following her passing in February 2012, a fund was started to reward cowgirls who embody her famous sense of style. The WPRA developed the criteria for the judging which took place the first nine go rounds at National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and the final night of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (FWSSR). .

2012 WNFR: Mary Walker

2013 FWSSR: Kendra Dickson

2014 WNFR: Fallon Taylor

2014 FWSSR: Jane Melby